Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Birds Moving North Again...

I struck it lucky today at Lurgangreen, Dundalk Bay. After a winter of not being able to locate ANY of the big flocks there, came upon a really big flock out on the mudflats. Unfortunately most were resting, lying down, presumably in preparation for their long journey north, but the rings read, before they flew back out on to the saltmarsh, show that these were mostly birds moving up from the Greater Dublin area.
This also reflects recent records from elsewhere, such as sightings from Belfast Lough and Killough, Co. Down, Myroe, Lough Foyle, and Carlingford Lough, Co. Louth. Other major sites like Strangford Lough and Dundrum Harbour, Co. Down, on the other hand, seem to get by-passed in the rush towards Iceland and beyond, given that they require an inward diversion from the direct route up the nearest headlands of the east coast.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

A momentary distraction - Barnacle Geese

Irish wintering Barnacle Geese breed in north eastern Greenland - many on the cliffs and some fairly dramatic footage many of you will have seen of the chicks making their first glide and a proportion of them getting nabbed by hungry Arctic Foxes availing of the temporary bounty. This population winters almost entirely on the islands and adjacent coastline of the north and west coasts of Scotland and Ireland.
The population has been increasing and - as a slight deviation from our normal work - some of us were tempted to extend the studies on-going on Islay, the Inishkeas and elsewhere and both add to information on local movements in Ireland (where birds are only ringed on the Inishkeas) and contribute to the wider scale picture on this population in the Scottish/Irish range. Bring out the cannon-nets, set up our base at goose HQ in Inishowen and try catching and marking some birds there.
In Inishowen the Barnacles roost primarily on Glashedy Island and the Garvan Island for Inishtrahull.

We have had two successful trips out of three there since January and the total number of birds ringed there now is in excess of 200 birds. This will supplement the 10-15 ringed birds that were present prior to ringing (obv birds ringed elsewhere) and give us something to work on at the individual level for many years to come.

Our most recent catch (155 processed birds) was completed on 06:50 on Saturday 24th March at Trawbrega Bay some pictures of which are attached. A great team effort (involving in excess of 20 people) led and executed by myself, Daniel, Stuart, Kerry, Alan with considerable support from Martin, Graham, Gerry, Colin, Helen, Sinead, Aimee and Sarah and an army of volunteers - thanks all.
Lots of ringed Barnacles around Malin/Trawbrega now, this autumn and many winters to come - please look out for rings and report them to us if you are in the vicinity.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Our IBGRG website is functioning again!

For lots of frustrating reasons (much of which has to do with faceless unresponsive companies who manage the internet) it has been unfortunate that the IBGRG website (www.irishbrentgoose.com) has not been accessible for some time. The previous website (ending *.org) was sabotaged - seems you can do that?! - which did not help matters, and the content of the new domain is pretty much the same as previous (with a few improvements). 

We have a plan over the next few months to add more content to make the website a more valuable reference point for the project - what we do, what we have learned etc with 'newsy' items still being posted on this blog (linked to the website on the front page of www.irishbrentgoose.com).